Orioles-Braves Preview

Jair Jurrjens is anchoring an Atlanta Braves’ staff that is

among the best in baseball. Interleague play isn’t slowing them

down, either.

Jurrjens looks to regain sole possession of the NL lead in wins

and spur the Braves to an eighth consecutive interleague win

against the Baltimore Orioles on Friday night.

Atlanta (47-35) has a 3.07 ERA, second in the majors to

Philadelphia’s 3.01.

The Braves’ rotation has compiled a 2.03 ERA during an 8-2

stretch that includes Thursday’s 5-3 win at Seattle that completed

a three-game sweep.

Atlanta is dominating the AL, winning seven in a row with a 1.71

ERA. The club hasn’t put together such a streak since a

franchise-record 11-game run bridging 2002 and 2003.

Jurrjens (10-3, 2.07 ERA) may get them closer.

The right-hander leads the NL in ERA and is tied with

Pittsburgh’s Kevin Correia and Roy Halladay of Philadelphia in

wins. A victory would make Jurrjens the third 11-game winner along

with New York Yankees’ CC Sabathia and Justin Verlander of

Detroit.

Jurrjens, who is 5-1 in six starts at home, yielded one run and

three hits while walking four in six innings of a 10-1 win at San

Diego on Saturday.

“For me, he’s been the most consistent guy we’ve had,” manager

Fredi Gonzalez said. “Even nights like (Saturday), when he didn’t

have his good stuff, he still kept you in the game. He battled and

gave us six innings. Good for us and for him that we were able to

get the offense going and get him his 10th victory.”

Jurrjens is getting his first start against Baltimore (35-43) in

the opener of this three-game set, and he’s 2-1 with a 1.61 ERA in

seven career interleague games.

While Jurrjens and the staff are doing their part, Atlanta is

providing just enough offense during the last 10 games, hitting

.227 while averaging 4.2 runs.

Rookie Freddie Freeman, though, has a .333 average with two

homers and eight RBIs in that stretch.

Brian McCann is on a tear versus the AL, going 15 for 30 with

five homers and 10 RBIs in the last eight games. He’s 11 for 21

with four RBIs in six career meetings with the Orioles.

The Braves dropped two of three at Baltimore from June 12-14,

2009, but they’ve taken five of six at Turner Field.

The Orioles are trying to snap a three-game skid after falling

9-6 to St. Louis on Thursday to cap a 2-4 homestand.

Baltimore hasn’t been much better on the road, losing 12 of

16.

Nick Markakis is providing a bright spot with a personal-best

19-game hitting streak, batting .414 with two homers and 12 RBIs in

that span.

Extending that streak Friday would make him the first Oriole

since Brian Roberts in 2005 to reach 20 games with a hit.

Markakis is 11 for 25 versus the Braves, and 8 for 12 in three

games at Atlanta.

Jeremy Guthrie (3-9, 3.93) gets the ball looking to win

back-to-back starts for the first time since a three-game run from

Aug. 29-Sept. 11.

The right-hander battled through 5 2-3 innings Sunday, allowing

four runs and six hits while walking four in a 7-5 win over

Cincinnati.

He’s won two of three interleague starts this season, compiling

a 4.26 ERA.